What is interdisciplinary research and what does it offer the Feldenkrais Method community?

Interdisciplinary research has been in vogue in academic circles and among funding agencies for some years with varying degrees of success in achieving and promoting it. In the past, it has been uncommon for scholars and researchers to stray out of the disciplines in which they were trained, organised as they often are in socially isolated tertiary departments and faculties. Thus the social organisation of academic life has led to ‘silos’ of learning in higher education in many places.

Theresa Sawicka PhD

Prior to my recent retirement from formal academic life I was a university administrator: I worked in two universities in New Zealand as both a Director of a Graduate School and as an Associate Director of a Research Office. Originally trained as a Cultural Anthropologist I worked as a Research Fellow on various research projects and prior to that on my PhD. I graduated as a Feldenkrais practitioner in 2010.

It takes a long time to train an academic researcher, even post-PhD, to a level of expertise where a research programme based on a significant research question(s) can really develop. So it is hardly surprising that many researchers after years in training choose to stick to research areas that they have been trained within.

There are a number of other barriers too. To maintain scholarly expertise in several disciplines requires particular and uncommon intellects. The current rate of increase in academic publication alone is staggering, brought about partly by the ‘publish or perish’ conundrum as scholars and researchers are pushed to demonstrate they are actively engaged in research in the tenure system of academic promotion.

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